Offensive in Syria aimed at cutting off ISIL supply route

Manbij is on the north-south axis between Jarablus, a town on the border with Turkey and controlled by ISIL fighters.

Offensive in Syria aimed at cutting off ISIL supply route

World Bulletin / News Desk

The US-led coalition fighting the ISIL group in Syria is trying to strangle it by cutting off a key supply route from Turkey.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led alliance, has just launched an offensive to capture the strategic northern town of Manbij with the help of coalition air strikes, 18 of them in the past 24 hours.

Manbij is on the north-south axis between Jarablus, a town on the border with Turkey and controlled by ISIL fighters, and Raqa, the ISIL group's self proclaimed capital in Syria.

That axis is the main supply route to Raqa, said Jennifer Cafarella, Syria analyst for the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank.

If anti-ISIL fighters take Manbij and then Jarablus, that would sever this axis and leave the jihadist group with just a few rural areas further to the west as a way to maintain a link with Turkey, Cafarella said.

"Recapturing Manbij and ultimately advancing to Jarablus would disrupt but not eliminate ISIL's ability to resupply," she said.

The US-led coalition has long had its eye on the so-called Manbij pocket. But an offensive on this mainly Arab region has run into opposition from Turkey, a key partner in the alliance.

Washington sees the Syrian Democratic Forces -- which is dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) -- as the most effective ground force against ISIL in Syria.

But Ankara regards the YPG as a branch of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Haziran 2016, 09:51
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